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Wedding Photographer Maatea Virginie and Samuel shoots a wedding at Rental Home Maeva Tiahura in Moorea, French Polynesia

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Wedding Photographer : Virginie and Samuel  
Couple : Erika + Tucker
Wedding Photographer Maatea
Ceremony Location : Rental Home Maeva Tiahura in Moorea
Reception : Rental Home Maeva Tiahura in Moorea
Wedding Date : 21st December 2015

Tell us a little about yourself??

We work as a husband and wife team of wedding photographers. Four years ago we decided to leave our country and work and cat and comfort. In France we did fashion shoots during our free time. We left to find a new beginning in New Zealand unable to speak English.

We found ourselves during this trip and we realized we should follow our passion as a full time job. We discovered landscape photography. Now we are in Moorea, little sister of Tahiti, French Polynesia where we discovered wedding photography. We like to approach it like a great mix between fashion, landscapes and emotional photography! We love weddings for the artistic and authentic photos they offer and for the privileged linked between us, the bride + groom and guests.

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How do you think or would like people to describe you?

Friendly, franc and always here for our customers (we prefer the word 'soon married couple') because we really want them to have an amazing experience, not just speaking about photos but about the day!

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Tell us a little bit about the wedding day?

I spoke with Erika for a very long time by email. At first she contacted us to cover her wedding. She wanted to book it in a resort. After few exchanges I understood she was not the kind of person to get married on a resort with a standard package wedding and I knew she wasn't staying on the resort but on a rental house she had found herself.

So I suggested to her to have a real Polynesian wedding, in her rental place! The house was perfect for that. There is a private beach, a garden, a covered area in case of rain. Erika was so happy! She didn’t know it was possible and she wanted that in the first place, an intimate, dancing and full of life wedding!

We met her and Tucker days before, it was like seeing old friends and we were there from the getting ready (I love the getting ready with the girls!) to the end of the party, feeling like guests and covering the full event.

Erika was so happy she invited the dancing team to stay the night and together, with her friends, they had a great time between dancing and laughing! We captured that, it was really great!

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How did you get into wedding photography?

Thanks to French Polynesia which is a destination for couples going on their honeymoon and for weddings and renewing vows. We always believed that wedding photos were boring, it was before being and assistant at a Polynesian Wedding and before seeing amazing work of wedding photographers on this website. It's really inspirational and we love it more and more as each wedding offers new perspectives and artistic and emotional opportunities.

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How long have you been a wedding photographer?

Wedding Photographers for just two years but we took photos seriously for more than 12 years, before digital.

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Can you share how you've made your wedding photography business a success? Any mistakes you made along the way?

Our business is not old enough to reply to that. What we can say for now is you really need to have faith and passion for the job because it's definitely not an easy job in this competitive and digital world.

We are in a very small island, not a lot of weddings and business and we need to fight with people who are not professional and who propose crazy rates and unfortunately some people don't realize the importance of having a pro and choosing carefully. There are no rules, it's a jungle. At least we do what we love together.

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What do you think a bride or groom should be looking for and not looking for in terms of wedding photography packages?

They should privilege the touch of the photographer + the relationship they have with them! Some bride/groom looking for a cheap package is the only thing they will be able to share with their children, with family, friends, it's really important! It is important to offer packages which include the getting ready stage and the party.

Our packages are for the full event, we never have a clock we just follow guests, the bride, groom, friends and family in this journey and I think people need more packages like that.

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How do you advertise yourself and what for you has really worked?

Updating our website and social media. No paper, no local advertising. Just social media and a good website (with hours on it for SEO)

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Why do you think people hire you?

They said they feel something when they look at our photos, they love seeing smiles, big laughs and natural images. Couples love our black and white work too. It’s maybe because we have a crazy French accent and a strange way of talking ;) and for that people laugh a lot with us! ;)

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How many weddings do you average per year?

The second year has not finished yet, so for the first year; 30 from 2 people to 250.

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Whose wedding would you love to shoot?

We would love shoot different cultures like an Indian or Japanese wedding or in another country to see the different ways of getting married, feel a different atmosphere.

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If you were asked to shoot a destination wedding, where would you hope it would be?

We would love to see a lot of places most of the time the wilder the better! We would love a destination wedding on the middle of nowhere with incredible landscape and light, it could be on a desert, near a iced lake, on a tropical forest, just where nature is incredible and different! Wherever the country is there is always a beautiful spot! We of course would love return to Iceland which is very special to us.

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What equipment do you have for a typical wedding day?

5d Mark III, several lenses from the 50mm to the 90mm and the 24-70mm, flashes, soft boxes (big and small).

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What is the most challenging thing about a wedding.

Having no IPad or IPhones and cameras on our wedding photos. It should be a law which is said 'during wedding, guests are not supposed to take pictures, just enjoy the moment because the guys we actually hire want to see your faces'.

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Do you have an approach to a wedding?

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Who or what inspires you?

We love the work of many 'awarded' wedding photographers like Franck Boutonnet, Brian Callaway etc but also not so famous photographers but with amazing touch and eye from Poland, Indonesia, Spain, Brazil!

It's interesting to see other wedding photographers from other countries. We like a photographer who has a special love for black and white, candid shoots especially during the party and an artistic view with unusual angle and light. A big part of our inspiration comes to our brides and grooms too.

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Best & Worst marketing idea so far?

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If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?

Probably working in something around the environment as we are very concerned about that.

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Share your favourite image of the day and why?

We have two favorite images actually. But ok I will choose one ;) The one during the morning preparations or sort of actually! We said to the girls we will take couple of photos on the beach, we saw the hammock and girls were so happy we suggested to get into the hammock. We didn't realise they were all going to get in, it was a perfect moment of friendship, spontaneity and joy. Every time we see this image we can't stop smiling, it reminds us of this special time and this beauty. (in case you ask yes girls are falling!)

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Do you have any goals for the future photography related or otherwise?

To do more destination weddings and to go to different places, experience different ways of getting married, different cultures, that's very inspiring!

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What do you think is key to being a successful wedding photographer?

Understanding and communicating with the bride and groom, success is great but you can’t be awful with clients just because you want your shot. The results are very important to us but the experience of the bride and groom and guests too!

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Are there any other wedding photographers whose work inspires you, can be a well know photographer or somebody you've stumbled across?

see 16

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Proudest moment so far. Photography related or otherwise?

When our beautiful bride hugs us and thanks us from the bottom of her heart with tears on her eyes. A few days after she receives her photos hundreds and hundreds of miles away. When she's home and writes to us something like:

"OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!! Virginie and Samuel. I am in tears, tears are streaming down my face! This is SOOOOOO special! I can’t believe it! You two are the greatest photographers and friends ever!! I am so happy I got to know you two. I love you both. I really do!! Thank you for this very special keepsake. I don't know what else to say, this is perfect! Absolutley perfect!! I would not have wanted anything any other way! You two are the BEST decision we made regarding our very special day! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Erika." or something like that :-)

When our brides and grooms trust us enough to completely change their wedding venue because they trust our eyes and our advice about feeling and authenticity of a ceremony and when they see the result they are very happy

When we edit photos without counting the time or the number photos.

That's the best gift for us and that's why we are proud of what we do!


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